Emma Raducanu: 'Hardest thing in the world' to drop out of Wimbledon

Emma Raducanu said it was the "hardest thing in the world" to withdraw from her fourth-round Wimbledon match against Ajla Tomljanovic, but she was "not well enough to carry on."

Raducanu, who at 18 was the youngest British women's player to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon in the Open era, was taken off the court by medics during the second set Monday before it was announced that she was withdrawing from the match, with the referee's office later saying the official reason was for difficulty breathing.

On Tuesday, Raducanu tweeted a statement in which she said the "whole experience" caught up with her. She said she was breathing heavily and "felt dizzy" and that the medical team advised her not to continue.

"I was playing the best tennis of my life in front of an amazing crowd this week and I think the whole experience caught up with me," she wrote. "... Although it felt like the hardest thing in the world not to finish Wimbledon on the court, I was not well enough to carry on."

Raducanu later told the BBC that the late start to her match was not a contributing factor to her difficulties on Court 1.

"I think I was prepared to go out there whatever time of day was required," Raducanu told the BBC. "I was so excited. I didn't find a problem with it at all. Just to have the opportunity to go on Court 1 was something I cherished, and there was no problem."

She added: "I don't know what caused it. It was a combination of everything that has gone on behind the scenes in the last week and the culmination of the excitement and buzz, and it's a great learning experience for me going forward. Hopefully next time I'll be better prepared."

Former tennis star John McEnroe was criticized for his comments during the match while serving as an analyst on the BBC broadcast. McEnroe, who is also an analyst for ESPN, questioned whether the situation "got a little bit too much" for Raducanu.

Raducanu tweeted that she was feeling better as of Tuesday morning and thanked everyone for their support. She congratulated Tomljanovic for an "incredible performance."

"I'm sorry our match ended the way it did," she wrote.

Raducanu's rise has caught Great Britain's attention, with her Instagram followers spiking from a couple of thousand before Wimbledon to 250,000. She told the BBC that she had been "blocked out" of her Instagram as "they thought I was a robot" due to her incredible rise in popularity on the social media channel.

"I haven't spent too much time on my phone, looking at the news. We've been in the bubble focusing on the match ahead and everything in my control," she said.

Among those praising Raducanu was Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford, who tweeted that he experienced a similar setback early in his career.

"It happened to me playing for the national team in U16s against Wales. I remember it to this day. No explanation for it and it never happened again," Rashford wrote. "You should be very proud of yourself. The country is proud of you. Glad to read [you're] feeling better. Onwards and upwards."